Here’s the conundrum. We’re a storytelling species yet telling tales often has negative rather than positive connotations.
Stories are how we learn from our parents as babies and communicate best as adults by citing examples, real or made up.
Storytelling feeds our imagination. It’s why we read books, listen to the radio, watch films and TV – and interact endlessly online as well as at face to face events.
This isn’t just a great thing to do – enabling our creative juices to flow and to explain and understand things that are so stand out, well, we just couldn’t make it up – if you want to make a point the best way is to tell a compelling story.
During my career as a journalist – many of the programmes, features, books and other media productions I was involved in were often collections of stories to support facts, observations or point to be made.
As long as you don’t gild the lily, embellish or massage facts too much no harm is done and you add oodles to what could be a dry subject.
People remember a good story. What they struggle with are details and facts. There’s nothing to hang on to, little to bring to life or place in a believable or an understandable context.
In business, people too readily seek to sell rather than explain or hide behind regulation to deny their most powerful marketing tool – the ability to use stories to explain how their business really works, what it does, how it works and who it connects with. Most of all, why they do what they do – their purpose and what drives them.
Yes, customer testimonials and case studies matter – but what about other relationships that make a business tick – suppliers, employees, investors, funders, networkers and anyone else we can connect with?
And you can’t beat marketing great reality. I’d even argue that to dismiss storytelling is to shy away from our basic learning and communicating instincts.
So, go on, get out there and start telling (true) stories – in PR, blogs, case studies, testimonials and video.
You’ll never look back – and it is fun.
The Power of Storytelling is the meeting theme of January 2018’s Birmingham and Worcester Business Media Club meetings.
Chris Green is managing partner of Chris Green Media – inspiring business people to communicate better.